2011 Countdown: #46 J.B. Fitzgerald

2011 Countdown: #46 J.B. Fitzgerald

July 16, 2011
J.B. Fitzgerald (#42)

Name: J.B. Fitzgerald
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 244 lbs.
High school: West Windsor Plainsboro High School in Princeton, NJ
Position: Linebacker
Class: Senior
Jersey number: #42
Last year: I ranked Fitzgerald #33 and said he’d make 20 tackles as a backup linebacker.  He started 3 games at OLB and made 22 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 1 sack on the season.

Fitzgerald was the utility linebacker last season, playing a key backup role at all three linebacker positions and finishing 15th on the team in tackles.  When it became obvious to the coaches (though it was obvious much earlier to fans) that Craig Roh was not cut out to be a 3-3-5 outside linebacker late in the season, Fitzgerald stepped into the starting OLB position.  He had an up-and-down tenure as a starter in that time, recording half his tackles in those three starts and finishing the season with 6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and his 1 sack in the bowl game against Mississippi State.

In the spring Fitzgerald played SAM linebacker but was #3 on the depth chart behind Cam Gordon and Jake Ryan; he also played MIKE linebacker but was #2 on the depth chart behind Marell Evans…who was only playing MIKE because Kenny Demens was out due to shoulder surgery.  Essentially, Fitzgerald is buried in lots of places.  That doesn’t bode well for his future.  Fitzgerald seems to play well in spurts, but he can’t ever seem to put together a string of good play.  “Clunky” is a good way to describe the way he moves on the field.  He’s not a bad backup to have on the roster, but at this point, it looks like he’ll finish his career with a John Thompson-like whimper rather than a David Harris-like bang.

Prediction: Backup linebacker; 15 tackles


  1. Comments: 21383
    Jul 16, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    OT: Thanks for reliably churning out these countdown posts early in the morning (even on weekends).

  2. Comments: 21383
    Jul 16, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Back up? But, he was a four star recruit! Stars are what dictate greatness!

    In all seriousness though, if jb fitzgerald is buried on the depth chart, I think were going to be just fine next year.

    Magnus, I love checking ttb to see this countdown. Keeps me excited.

  3. Comments: 21383
    Jul 16, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    Bustola. Fitzgerald was a big-time recruit and has excellent size for his position(s). When was the last time a highly touted recruit didn't bust at least at little at Michigan? Injuries don't count. Long, Henne, Manningham?

  4. Comments: 21383
    Jul 16, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    14? scholarship linebackers on the roster and we're still having trouble picking a 3rd starter. Hopefully Fitz responds well to the new environment/coaching. Blame for underperformance on D has gone to the coaches, I'm putting blame for underdeveloped players there too.

  5. Comments: 21383
    Jul 16, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Denard? Mike Martin?Denard? Mike Martin?

  6. Comments: 21383
    Jul 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM


    This guy was a five-star who turned out to be pretty good at the footballs:

  7. Comments: 21383
    Jul 16, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Has always seemed to me that speed is his biggest liability, both foot speed and ability to quickly recognize a play and get where he needs to get … seems like a real nice kid, though, and he like the other seniors, have gone through a ton of crap that most Mich players have never had to worry about. I hope these guys get to leave with some great moments from 2011.

  8. Comments: 21383
    Painter Smurf
    Jul 16, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    The excessive quantity of defensive busts goes back many years, as we have been reminded by the old offer lists that Magnus is posting. Especially in his latter years, I think Carr gravitated to defensive recruits with good measurables but mediocre HS film. I'd be curious to go back and see what JB looked like in high school games. I am excited by the newer LB recruits because even though some are on the small-side, they are showing quick recognition skills for the most part. This is JB's biggest weakness in my opinion.

  9. Comments: 21383
    Jul 16, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    Ummm Denard…

  10. Comments: 21383
    Jul 17, 2011 at 4:15 AM

    @ David- BGraham is later than all those guys and was a 5 star.

  11. Comments: 21383
    Jul 17, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    @David: I think the last big-time recruit to actually turn into a big-time player was Brandon Graham (2006 recruiting class). You might be able to include Mike Martin here, but I seem to recall him being more of a generic four star to recruiting sites, rather than someone in the OMG ranking categories.

  12. Comments: 21383
    Jul 17, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    @David: Denard Robinson.

  13. Comments: 21383
    Jul 17, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    @David: Brandon Graham, Mike Martin for D.

  14. Comments: 21383
    Jul 19, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    @ Painter Smurf 5:03 p.m.

    Fitzgerald looked pretty good in high school. He was a thumper. He's just a little bit slow.

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